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Jailing of American gets widespread international attention
- Published: 9 Dec 2011 at 09.57
- Online news:
For the international media yesterday, the big story from Thailand was the jailing of Thai-born US citizen Joe Wichai Commart Gordon for two-and-a-half years for insulting the monarchy.
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Thai-born US citizen Joe Wichai Commart Gordon at the Criminal Court yesterday where he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years for insulting the monarchy. RATTASEEMA PONGSAN
Jailing of American gets widespread international attention
For the international media yesterday, the big story from Thailand was not the floods, the celebrations for the King's birthday or the surrender of red-shirt leader Arisman Pongruangrong.
Instead the focus was on the Bangkok Criminal Court where Thai-born US citizen Joe Wichai Commart Gordon was jailed for two-and-a-half years for insulting the monarchy.
Gordon, who appeared in court under his birth name of Lerpong Wichaikhammat, was actually sentenced to five years in prison, but his term was halved when he pleaded guilty.
His crime was translating into Thai and publishing online a banned biography of His Majesty the King.
"Joe decided not to appeal this case but will ask for a royal pardon," his lawyer Arnon Nampa told reporters in Bangkok.
Gordon, 55, was born in Nakhon Ratchasima, and was arrested last May when he arrived on a visit. The charges accused him of posting material deemed offensive, while living in the United States.
Gordon was allowed to talk to the media after his sentence while awaiting processing.
"I'm not Thai, I'm American," he said. "I was just born in Thailand. I hold an American passport. In Thailand there are many laws that don't allow you to express opinions but we don't have that in America.
"I'm proud to be American," he said.
A senior US official questioned the sentence.
"We consider the sentence severe because he was given the sentence for his right of expression," US Consul General Elizabeth Pratt told reporters.
"We continue to respect the Thai monarchy but we also support the right of expression, which is internationally recognised as a human right."
The US State Department on Tuesday emphasised that it counts Thailand as one of its oldest allies, but voiced alarm over a series of court cases over speech and writing deemed offensive to the monarchy.
In a conviction widely discussed in the country, 61-year-old Ampon Tangnoppakul was jailed last month for 20 years on four counts of sending text messages to the private secretary of then prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in May 2010.
The European Union said it was "deeply concerned" about that sentence.
Adapted from an AFP/Bangkok Post.com story.
citizen – someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country พลเมือง
Criminal Court – a court which hears criminal cases, i.e., cases where people are accused of breaking a law and where punishment involves going to jail. ศาลอาญา
sentence – (of a court of law) to give a punishment ลงโทษ
insulting – rude or offensive อย่างดูถูกดูแคลน
the monarchy – the royal institution (higher institution); the throne; the crown ระบอบประชาธิปไตยอันมีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข
widespread – happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people อย่างแพร่หลาย
attention – interest, especially interest that the public has in a person, event, situation etc ความสนใจ
media – newspapers, television, radio, etc. สื่อ
surrender – to give yourself up ยอมจำนน
focus – the thing or person that people are most interested in จุดสนใจ, จุดสำคัญ, จุดหลัก
halve – to reduce by a half; to make something reduce by a half ลดลงครึ่งหนึ่ง, หั่นครึ่ง
plead guilty – to formally tell a court of law that you did commit the crime you are accused of รับสารภาพ ให้การว่าได้กระทำผิดตามที่ถูกกล่าวหา
translate – to express the meaning of speech or writing in a different language แปล
banned – officially not allowed ถูกห้าม
biography – the story of a person's life written by somebody else ประวัติชีวิต
appeal – to make a request that a court change a decision of a lower court ยื่นอุทธรณ์
pardon– an official decision to forgive someone for committing a crime and to free them from full or further punishment or to have their punishment reduced การอภัยโทษ
arrested – caught by the police and taken to a police station because you are believed to have committed a crime ถูกจับกุม
charge – an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime ข้อหา
accuse – to say that someone has done something wrong or committed a crime กล่าวหา
post – to send information, in this case, to a website
material – information or ideas used in books, etc ข้อมูล, เนื้อหา, ใจความ, สาระ
deemed – considered เห็นว่า ถือว่า
offensive – causing someone to become upset or angry; rude ซึ่งทำให้ไม่พอใจ,น่ารังเกียจ
process – to deal with a document, a legal case, etc, officially so that something can happen ทำให้ผ่านกระบวนการ,ปฏิบัติการ
opinion – your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact ความเห็น, ความคิดเห็น, ทัศนคติ
proud – feeling pleased and satisfied about something that you own or have done, or are connected with ภูมิใจ
senior – with a high rank or position อาวุโส
question – to have or express doubts or suspicions about something สงสัย
severe – very serious รุนแรง
respect – to accept the importance of something เคารพ
recognise – to accept that something is true or important ยอมรับ
human rights – a basic right which it is generally considered all people should have, such as justice and the freedom to say what you think สิทธิมนุษยชน
US State Department – the US government department of foreign affairs กระทรวงการต่างประเทศ
emphasise – to stress something such as an idea, fact or detail; to explain why something is important เน้น
count – to consider; to hold
allies – countries which work together ประเทศพันธมิตร
voice – to express your feelings or opinions ออกความคิด
alarm – fear and anxiety that somebody feels when something dangerous or unpleasant might happen or has happened ความกังวล
series – several events or things of a similar kind that happen one after the other สิ่งที่ต่อเนื่องกัน
conviction – when someone is officially found to be guilty of a particular crime การพิสูจน์ว่ากระทำผิด
count – each crime someone is accused of คดี
concerned – worried about something มีความกังวล